Home coffee makers have improved a great deal over recent years, and there’s many exceptional candidates out there. Its difficult to choose just one. The answer also depends on your budget, and how you intend to use the coffee maker. The best home coffee maker for one household isn’t necessarily the best for another. In short, there’s a lot to consider.
What type of machine do you want? Do you need an espresso machine, a drip coffee machine or a coffee maker with grinder? Do you require single-serve, 2-cups or 4? You get the idea.
On the other hand you can buy everything from the traditional manual espresso maker to the super automatic coffee machine which don’t require you to lift a finger (well, maybe on to press the on button).
You also have to consider how much control you want to have over the coffee making process, or on the contrary how much you want to relinquish.
Basically, espresso machines fall into three main categories; manual, semi and super-automatic.
Manual coffee machines
Generally speaking, they are not big or bulky and as a result will not hog precious kitchen bench top space.
Manual machines are not just for beginners
Manual machines are for the coffee purists too! These are the sort of people who treat coffee making like a hobby and are intensely interested in every step of the coffee making process.
Manual machines can of course trace their origins back to the original espresso machines that were first developed in the 1930s. Since then there has been 7 decades of refinement although the fundamental principles remain the same.
While it is true that for a complete novice the learning curve can be a steep one, the quality of coffee that is produced can be just as good or even better than super automatic machines with a bit of patience and persistence.
They are also usually finished in more ‘rustic’ materials like copper, brass or chrome which can add a certain charm to your kitchen if you like that sort of thing.
One downside is that because they don’t have a built-in water reservoir, it will be tedious to make more than a couple of coffees at once (this would become an especially drawn out process if you were entertaining a group of people for example).
Semi-automatic coffee machines
The next group is the semi automatics. They usually require the user to initiate the pumping action and then manually stop it once the process is
The milk frothing capabilities vary from model to model, but you should understand that frothing is something that can seem difficult at first and can be learnt and perfected over time. If you are not so confident with the process, then go for machines that have frothing adapters which increase aeration and give you a better froth.
A sub category of semi automatic coffee machines is the fully automatic option. Do not be fooled by the name though – most fully automatic machines are just modified versions of the semi automatic version.
The only real modification you need to worry about is that the coffee extraction is done for you after the push of a button and the espresso machine will stop by itself when the predetermined amount of coffee has been reached.
These types of setups are particularly useful in coffee shops where a lot of tasks are being performed simultaneously and the coffee machine needs to be left unattended. Whether or not this benefit applies to the home user is really a decision for that particular user to make!
Super-automatic coffee machines
Super automatic coffee machines really are one touch solutions. It is as easy as pushing a button and watching the machine make the coffee for you.
As far as the actual process is concerned, the machine will do everything from grinding the beans, to tamping the beans and measuring a predetermined amount of coffee. Some models will even dispose of the excess coffee grounds (known as the puck) for a truly automated solution.
Super automatics also require very little cleaning and while most will clean themselves, others will let you know via the LCD interface exactly when and what needs to be cleaned. Such processes as decalcification are usually automatically handled.
So let’s take a look at some of the home coffee maker.
This manual, single cup espresso machine is a mid-priced machine that’s actually as good as a commercial machine, or at least as near as you’re going to get. It features a commercial grade group head that helps extract the coffee very well with an even heat.
The steam wand is articulating which is very handy. Fixed wands can be a problem and sometimes lead to spillages.
At just 9.2 x 11.4 x 13.3 inches it doesn’t take up a lot of room on a counter-top. Which is always a good thing for those with small kitchens.
It’s greatest asset is probably its durability as it is known to outlast even the higher priced machines.
The shots it produces are comparable to any you’d buy in a coffee house. It’s preferable that you use a good grinder with this machine (such as a Burr Grinder) to prevent the coffee from becoming too course. With a commercial grade machine such as this one it takes a little time to learn how to use it well, but when you do you’ll get some exceptional shots. If you want coffee with minimal fuss, this is probably not for you, but if you’re serious it’s probably the best espresso maker for under a grand. This is for real coffee addicts who love the ritual of making coffee.
This is surely a prime candidate for the best home coffee maker, but it’s quite highly priced. However, for that money you will get fantastic results, and it’s automatic, so there’s very little you can do wrong. It’s also fast, very fast. It’s 15 bar pump produces shots in just a few seconds.
It has a built in Burr Grinder, which saves you money on a separate purchase.
It looks amazing, it’s touch screen LCD interface is also a welcome addition in the age of the smartphone, and means that making great coffee is almost as simple as opening an app on your phone.
With the automatic coffee making, you also get one very important thing, consistency. Each shot is the same, with no drop-off in quality. It also has the ability to make two cups at once, which is good in a busy household. The bean hopper is just under 8.5 ounces and the ground coffee dosage is adjustable from 7 to 10.5 grams. Its water reservoir is a large 57 ounces and removable.
It takes up a lot of room at 14.4 by 12.4 by 16.3 inches but it’s so nice to look at it’s hard to imagine many people complaining.
It’s at the cheaper end of the mid-priced range, but what you get for the money is very reasonable. It’s by no means the best home coffee maker ever, but it will more than hold its own against anything similarly priced and it’s better than many higher priced machines.
It will get very close to a commercial grade cup of coffee. It will produce very nice tasting cups for those who just want the simple pleasures in life and don’t want to spend too much time or money on their coffee.
It’s a single cup automatic brewer that uses K-cups, which can be purchased in many physical stores now and online as well. They are certainly one of the easiest to find of these types of pre-made coffee products. You can also purchase a reusable K-cup in which you can place your own choice of coffee grounds.
If you’re not a morning person, this is a very good machine to own, as everything is taken care of for you. It’s cold beverage maker is also great for iced tea.
Its dimensions are 10 x 13.2 x 13 inches and it weighs a very light 17 lbs for this type of machine.
This is a simple, single cup brewer that does what it’s supposed to do well. There’s no special features of note to speak of, but what you get is a very competent coffee maker that’s very inexpensive.
With the simplicity you may not get the fancy features of the more expensive machines, but you do get ease of use. This is a very old-school home coffee maker, which is the best home coffee maker in its price range.
It’s LCD display works well, and it can make a good cup of coffee reasonably quickly. It has 3 different brew size options and a two hour automatic cut off which is handy for those of a forgetful nature. Again it uses K-cups to make coffee, which is either a pro or a con depending on whether you like them or not, but they do enable you to make a good cup of coffee very easily.
At 17 x 13 x 17 inches it’s a larger machine, but still small enough to not take up too much counter space.
At just over 100 dollars, this is the cheapest machine that could possibly be a candidate for best home coffee maker. If you want something good but don’t want to spend too much money, and don’t want to mess around with K-cups, this is the machine for you. Simply place your grounds in the top and you’re good to go.
It can brew 4-10 cups in around 3 minutes, and it does it very well. The coffee extraction is very good and consistent between cups.
It’s also a very retro-looking, old-school coffee machine. Which may be to many people’s tastes. It’s also very durable as there’s very little that can go wrong with these types of machines.
For a good but simple coffee maker, you can not go wrong with the Bunn. At only 9.8 x 15.4 x 12.3 inches and weighing only 7 lbs it’s not going to cause too many problems in the kitchen either.
So to sum it up, these are the picks for best home coffee maker in the various price ranges. Of course it will depend on how much you prefer (or not) the ritual of making coffee, how serious you are about coffee, and how much you’re willing to spend. However, each machine listed will make a great cup of coffee.